Former BBC director general Greg Dyke has claimed the BBC has already struck a deal with the government over the renewal of its charter.
Dyke, who served as director general between 2000 and 2004 and is now chairman of the Football Association, made his comments with a white paper outlining the government’s final stance on the future of the corporation still weeks away from publication.
The BBC’s current Royal Charter came into force in 2006 and is due to expire in December.
In a wide-ranging interview for the Educate North – Conference and Awards, to be held on April 21st in Manchester, he also suggested to broadcaster Rob McLoughlin that John Whittingdale, the Conservative minister in charge of the white paper, wasn’t happy with the outcome.
Dyke said: “I think a deal’s been done between the Chancellor and the BBC, and I think that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport doesn’t actually like the deal so he’s trying to pretend there’s something else, but I think the deal is done.”
Watch a clip from the interview here:
Dyke also attacked the government’s decision to require the BBC to pay for free television licences for those aged over 75 from 2018, a move that is thought to be costing the corporation around £650m.
“If I was chairman of the BBC then – which I won’t be – I would say ‘ok, we’re going to stop giving free licences to over-75s, because most of you can afford to pay it’.
“I think our generation have had it pretty easy. Obviously old people who haven’t got cash need to be helped, but there’s an awful lot of old people now who have got reasonable money, living on decent pensions, and I don’t think they need further support from younger people who can’t afford to buy a house.”
“I went to them at one stage and said look, why are you putting so many obvious Conservatives (on the board)? We don’t particularly want obvious Labour people, but we would like some people who cared about broadcasting, were passionate about broadcasting and weren’t political figures.”
The full interview can be seen at the second Educate – North conference next week, which is run in association with The Telegraph Media Group and is sponsored by Barclays, The Alliance Manchester Business School and UMIP (University of Manchester’s Intellectual Property division).
Dyke, a former chancellor of the University of York, will feature in a special video presentation when he will spell out his fears, ambitions and concerns about the Higher Education sector in the North and across the UK.
More details about the Educate – North conference and awards can be found here.